A Question For Pre-64 Model 70 Owners

Clayton

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I've got a 1952 production M70 that has had the bolt replaced. No serial number on the bolt. Can't imagine what prompted that, but Winchester tells me it was "most likely" a factory job. No records exist of such things any more. The gun shoots great, functions flawlessly and the price was right. I'm happy with it.

On the under side of the root of the bolt handle where it's welded to the bolt body, there's a small flat. My question is: What, if anything, is stamped in that flat?

This information (or absence of it) is just something that now and then nags at me.

Thank y'all for any replies.
 

rookhawk

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@Clayton as far as I recall on pre-64s, the only information on a bolt is an electropencil of the serial number on the bottom of the bolt body. Not aware of any other text or markings anywhere. A crook would electro pencil the serial number and pass off the gun as original. Shocked that it came to you unmarked as there are more crooks dealing in pre-64 winchesters than any other gun in the world with the exception of Colt SAAs. Hence, I do not buy collector Winchesters as truly, truly the world's experts on these guns cannot sniff out all the fraud as the hucksters are way too good at tarting up bad guns.

Bolts do go missing so that could have happened to yours. The other common issue is people sell of collections and put the wrong bolt in the wrong gun and they all fit just fine. I had a .375 pre-64 that had a mis-matched bolt. Headspace had to be addressed because of the mismatch.
 

Clayton

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I'm with you @rookhawk about the S/N being the only thing I can remember ever seeing on a bolt. And NO this thing was obviously not offered as anything remotely as being collectible. Right down to the polyurethane "patch" on the stock finish. Metal work is probably 80% or more (normal use) but the butt stock had an ugly scratch that looked better before the "repair". Initially the first thing that caught my attention was no hole in the knob of the bolt handle followed by the missing S/N.

Winchester's remaining guru on the old M70s said bolt replacements happened more than you'd think.
 

sandman0921

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Clayton,

I purchased a Pre-64 barreled action in 270 WCF, circa 1947 that had no collectors value whatsoever, other than it was an all parts matching original with bolt and barrel being a matched pair, or at least that was how it was marketed, and I'm not sophisticated or knowledgeable to tell the difference.... I guess also the fact that it has the cloverleaf rear tang, and the transitional style, 3-position safety gave it some additional value....I don't know, and really don't care. I bought it on a whim with the idea that it would make a neat project gun, and so I sent it to Wayne Jacobson with American Hunting Rifles where it is currently being reworked, restocked, and re-barreled/chambered in the caliber 9.3x62....

That doesn't really matter, but to your question, I don't remember that bolt specifically having anything printed on the handle flat, not that it didn't, but I just don't remember it. I'm pretty sure it did have the serial number scribed on the underside that indicated the same serial number as the action, not that that couldn't have been falsified as rookhawk laid out, but beyond the fraud, I figured any headspace issue will have been sorted out by Wayne during the re-barrel.

As an aside, I did purchase a whole bunch of spare parts for the Pre-64 action on EBay to have in case something broke, etc., and I do have a spare bolt body from a circa 1957 action. I just looked at the underside of the bolt handle flat you described, and there is a stamped "R" there. I have no idea what that means, but it's there......The picture below is of the area off the 1957 bolt handle.....

FullSizeRender-12.jpg


Also, for those out there that own Pre-64, Winchester Model 70's I purchased a book on eBay (the only place I could find it) that has hand-drawn pictures and descriptions that were approved by Olin Corp over 3 decades ago as a re-print of a manual used by Winchester technicians for take-down and assembly of the original Pre-64 Winchester Model 70's. It was supposedly originally drafted in 1957? Anyway, the manual is very useful, and I used it successfully to completely disassemble my Pre-64 barreled action down to bare components so that I could thoroughly clean and lubricate all the parts. Many of the parts like the ejector, bolt stop, springs, etc. were in need of a good cleaning as they had almost 70 years of dirt, grime, and surface rust that had accumulated. This manual made the disassembly and re-assembly very easy.

I'm not sure if I'm violating any posting rules for the forum, and if so, I completely apologize, but if not, I'll provide the link via eBay for the manual as it's a great resource for those of you with Pre-64s, if for nothing else than knowing how the rifle action is put together.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/winchester-...432709?hash=item1a00caaec5:g:EUoAAOSwrklVaEVt

I'll see if I can do more research as to what the "R" stamped on the underside of the bolt handle flat means....
 

sandman0921

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Clayton,

By the way, the 1957 bolt body I reference does not have a hole in the knob either, and I don't think I ever noticed that......

The 1947 bolt knob did however.

Another good book that I don't have currently, but I plan on getting that apparently has everything one would want to know and then some about the Winchester Model 70 is the book by Roger Rule titled "The Rifleman's Rifle: Winchester's Model 70, 1936-1963". They are out of print apparently, and the hardback's are collector's items now carrying price tags of up to $600...:eek:. It's amazing how everything "Model 70" takes on cult status in some people's eyes....I think I'll stick with the paperback version which is still > $90 on Amazon....
 

Clayton

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...I'll see if I can do more research as to what the "R" stamped on the underside of the bolt handle flat means....

@sandman0921 thanks for the info and link. That R is what sent me off searching. The Winchester guru told me when the factory replaced a bolt they did not engrave serial numbers, but did hand-stamp the R in that flat. My hope had been that no one would have anything indicated in that flat. Now I wonder even more!
 

sandman0921

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Clayton, that would make sense....I guess the R means replacement maybe? Or maybe R for right handed action, although that would probably be a very obvious thing....

And the 1957 bolt body I reference doesn't have a serial number engraved on the underside as well. All in all, with the aforementioned info, plus the missing hole in the knob, I guess the spare bolt body I have is a factory replacement as well which is fine because I got it for just that, a replacement for my other action.

The one thing that you can take solace in is that your rifle, as well as my barreled action, as well, has very little collector's value, and so hopefully you didn't pay much for the rifle. The only thing potentially with the replacement bolt is the issue of headspace, but if it was a factory job, one would think that was checked prior to redelivery of the rifle to the owner?
 

Clayton

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The guru said the R was used to indicate a Replacement by the factory. Didn't know a Pre-64 Left Hand Action was an option. Head space checked and it's good. In fact I have a new Super Grade and fired cases from either gun feed easily in the other. And it's a shooter/killer!

Who knows? I just may well have been told what someone thought I wanted to hear.

I do appreciate your time and input @sandman0921
 

sandman0921

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Clayton,

You're right. They didn't make lefty versions in the Pre-64 variety. Only gunsmith, non-factory conversions of those.....which a lot were poorly done.

Had a momentary brain fart there and was confusing the Pre-64's with the Winchester M70 Classics that were offered periodically from the New Haven factory as lefties from 1997-2006......

Thanks for the clarification. So I guess the R reasonably would mean replacement but like you said, who knows.....
 

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